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image © Kate Borkowski 2013
.: more Kate Borkowski :.
The Vodka Honey EP (2011)
Beautiful Little Fools (2011)
(15 Nov 2013) Based in Seattle, Washington, singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist Kate Borkowski is originally from South Bend, Indiana. Her family helped cultivate an intense love of words within Kate. Her work was widely acclaimed in 2011 when The Vodka Honey EP was released. The six-song project featuring mixes by Sunlight Project and veteran Tori Amos mix engineer Marcel van Limbeek, was the prelude to her album Beautiful Little Fools, which to this day remains unreleased.
Borkowski's latest offering is a very intimate album entitled Polymorph (Fortunato Publishing/Kate Borkowski (US), 2013). Produced by Jon Evans, a Grammy-nominated producer and long-time Tori Amos bassist, the arrangements and vocal lines, including Amos-like annunciation of lyrics on many of the tracks contribute to this comparison.
Borkowski is an immensely talented vocalist and songstress, with an English degree from the University of Notre Dame, that focuses her gifts of powerful perception and melody on each of Polymorph's twelve original songs spanning the almost one hour running time. Evans contributes his own dark bass grooves along with a masterful production style, which manages to be both spacious and lush, never losing the trail of Borkowski's unmistakable voice or piano.
Evans, who does all the string arrangements, says, "Kate Borkowski is a producer's dream. She brings to the plate a collection of songs that are contemporary, while still keeping one foot in the singer/songwriter tradition of classic hooks and melodies. She has clear ideas about how her songs should be received by the world, but is confident enough to accept new ideas and collaboration. Look forward to hearing a record that moves easily from dark to light and back!"
The album's opening tracks are most lightly arranged with Kate's voice gliding atop gentle string and piano arrangements. "Fiddlehead" is the first track to offer a thick bass line in sharp contrast to the whispier opening numbers. Borkowski's album changes forms as it develops, shifting styles, structures and moods. The album maintains its essence with emotionally naked lyrics replete with metaphor, ethereal vocals, and addictive piano melodies, all accentuated by playful drums, sensual bass grooves, and the emotion only strings can bring.
Borkowski acknowledges that, "Lyrically, Polymorph can feel quite chilly, but that's where the songs began, in wounds. And while I shine a spotlight into each wound, the album is also very much about the other side, of personal adaptation, survival and rebirth." We found that the complexity of the tracks, especially the gloomier ones, demanded that this album be listened to quite a few times to thoroughly appreciate.
"Anopheles" is placed mid-album and along with "Kamakazee Geese" that follows shortly after are two of the more accessible tunes of the collection. But, make no mistake, Polymorph is an extremely emotive, and to our ears quite dark, singer songwriter album. It just wasn't designed or written with happy songs and may very well leave some listeners feeling cold. We found ourselves longing for more of Borkowski's warmer and lushly arranged passages like those interspersed in "Lego Poetry." Listen for the multi-tracked vocal work in "Tan."
Kate Borkowski's Polymorph is a complex project that combines broody singer songwriter tracks with a few slightly more accessible numbers. The string arrangements provide the dominating style of the album. Polymorph is certain to draw attention from female singer songwriter enthusiasts.
We found the stylistic shift from The Vodka Honey EP and unreleased album dramatic. The album is certain to draw additional critical acclaim.